Technology Hates Me

It’s debatable whether or not our tech gadgets have become sentient and are in fact secretly plotting to kill us all. Regardless which side of that debate you’re on, I’m sure you’ve had a string of days where everything you touched, broke. That’s a bit how the past couple days have been for me, only I work at an IT Service Desk. So it’s a bit of a problem.

Issue One: The President’s Laptop

It all started when I was imaging up a laptop for the company president. It’s a standard procedure, but I needed to go through extra lengths to make sure he had everything he needed, including iTunes, which requires Quicktime. I tried to install Quicktime, but got a message saying Windows was already installing something, and I had to wait for that to finish. That’s all well and good, but I wasn’t installing anything and the CPU usage was at 0%.

After a fresh restart, I tried again and got the same error. There were three Windows Installer processes running, using none of the CPU. I tried ending one, and two more came to replace it. I tried another, and got the same thing. I restarted again, but let it sit this time. Nearly an hour later, all of them were gone and Windows Update wanted to restart.

I went into Windows Update and checked which updates were installed. The most recent item on the list was from hours previous, and I had restarted numerous times since then. So the system had self-replicating installers that seemingly took an hour to install a hidden update? What.

Issue Two: The Infinite Loop

A ticket came in from someone who had installed Windows updates and subsequently got stuck in an infinite boot loop. The laptop rebooted, got to the “Preparing to Configure Windows” screen, then rebooted again. This meant he couldn’t log into his machine or do any work at all. Not exactly a good thing.

I had him try to boot into Safe Mode, but he still had the same issue. I then asked him to repair the OS, but that failed and sent him to system restore. That also failed, citing issues with the antivirus. Logically, you would uninstall the antivirus and try the restore again, but since he couldn’t actually log into his machine, he couldn’t exactly uninstall the antivirus. That left us with a final option: delete the pending.xml file from the Windows directory, cancelling any pending updates.

No good. Even after that he was still stuck in the boot loop. I unfortunately had to tell him to just let it go while I build him a new hard drive.

Issue Three: Mardy Motherboard

One of our laptops had motherboard issues, so we called a technician out to fix it. I went to image that laptop after the motherboard was replaced, and the machine would cut out after a couple minutes. Motherboard issues are usually accompanied by flashing lights on the case, but none of that was happening. An instant cut out with no flashing lights usually means the machine overheated.

I called out another technician to replace the motherboard for a second time. The laptop seemed to be working fine afterward, until I tried to update the BIOS. It was version 6. I wanted version 7. It wouldn’t have it. I restarted the machine, reset the power by taking the battery out, tried updating directly and through the update client, but nothing worked.

I eventually decided to take the HDD out of that laptop and put it into a different one. I checked the BIOS version and saw it was already version 7 on that machine. Well, okay… Whatever works I guess.

Silver lining

Despite the difficulties, I did manage to accomplish all I set out to do. I am a bit disheartened I could not solve the infinite boot loop problem, but getting him up and running again is far more important. The brightest silver lining in all this, however, was this wonderful little gem of an article I found while trying to troubleshoot that infinite boot loop problem.

The article itself was nothing special; it merely detailed how to use Windows Recovery Environment. The special part of it was in fact the comments. Because there were things like this:

I actually have a delivering as a result of i am impartial today performing on, moreover I even have be trying as terribly information.

Wait, what? That isn’t even… what??? This was a comment by someone (bot most likely) named smallyfish. My favorite comments, however, were by another bot named jimenone:

We ofttimes heard grouping aid during inform prisonbreak, but lately there had been a Inform temblor I unconsolidated the dictate intellection moldiness also be implemented. A horrific seism closest the rabid that desolated a infirmary, a sanctify and the statesmanly divulge shook

Try reading this one out loud:

I am prosperous to wit so homey utilizable grouping here in the dos, we chemical get communicator strategies in this curtilage, thanks for lug.

I was in tears from laughing so hard at these comments. It was a much-needed giggle break after all that work. Perhaps I’ll look into recording myself reading these comments out loud…


(PS: The song was “Feelin’ Good” by Muse. You all suck for not getting that. Gar-Gar gets bonus points for at least making a guess.)


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on August 19, 2011, in Education and Work, Real Life, Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Flamethrowers. Flamethrowers fix everything.

  2. “Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?”

  3. I tend to go through “break everything” days.
    Mine are a little more severe though… car refusing to start, laptop literally frying, ipod completely crashing and formatting itself, PSU in desktop short circuiting, requiring a new one…

    Yeah, my “break everything” days tend to cost lost of money…

    • Yikes. My previous laptop only turns on with the proper application of force, and my PC (which I’m on now) once caught fire. At least PSU aren’t too expensive, not like a mobo or CPU shorting out. Can’t say much for the car though…

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